Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blanched Pea Shoots & Golden Tomatoes


When we drove into our favorite market in Arcata, on our way to Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park,
there was a farmers' market set up in the parking lot. Perfect! I picked up organic pea shoots and golden tomatoes; we had fresh basil from our visit to the greenhouse in Canby.

Ingredients

  • organic pea shoots
  • golden cherry tomatoes, halved
  • water
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • olive oil

Procedure
Quickly blanch the pea shoots. Do not overcook.


Drain pea shoots and lay on your plates. Top with tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Campfire Steelhead, Potatoes, & Zucchini


We just got back from our annual family camping trip around northern California. We spend three nights in Modoc National Forest with my in-laws, then hit the coast, and camped all the way back home, exploring different California State Parks as we go. It's about 1500 miles, 10 days, 1 national forest, 3 state parks, and many, many days and nights of cooking over the campfire.

Last year I discovered - and had a chance to review (click for my post about it) - Robin Donovan's Campfire Cuisine: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors.

What I learned: you can cook just about anything with some parchment paper, some heavy duty foil, olive oil, and herbs. So easy!


Campfire Steelhead
  • fish filet
  • onion, sliced
  • organic lemon
  • fresh herbs (I used flowering dill)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Procedure
Lay a piece of heavy duty foil on the table. Lay a slightly smaller piece of parchment on top of that.

Place your fish piece in the center of the parchment. Lay fresh herbs, roughly chopped, on top of the fish. Place thin lemon slices over the herbs. Drizzle it all with olive oil.

Bring the long sides of the foil together and fold down to seal. Crimp in the ends to create a foil packet. Place the packet over indirect heat on a grill over the fire. 

Cook time depends on the size of your fish and the size of your fire. But a 2-pound fish or filet usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes.

Remove the packet with tongs or oven-mittens. Open foil carefully to release the steam. Serve hot.


Campfire Potatoes
Use the same procedure for the zucchini. They just take a shorter time to cook, approximately 10 minutes.

  • 2 Spring onions, thinly sliced, including the greens
  • 4 potatoes, cubed
  • olive oil
  • fresh herbs (I used flowering dill)
  • freshly ground sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Procedure
Lay a piece of heavy duty foil on the table. Lay a slightly smaller piece of parchment on top of that.

Place your potatoes and onions in the center of the parchment. Sprinkle fresh herbs, roughly chopped, on top. Drizzle it all with olive oil.

Bring the long sides of the foil together and fold down to seal. Crimp in the ends to create a foil packet. Place the packet over indirect heat on a grill over the fire. 

Cook time depends on the size of your packet but potatoes usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes.

Remove the packet with tongs or oven-mittens. Open foil carefully to release the steam. Serve hot.


Bone Broth Risotto {Product Review}


After our attempt at sipping bone broth, I decided to cook with my Organic Bone Broth from Pacific Foods* instead. I thought about dishes where the broth is a prominent part...not just an ingredient. The two I came up with: soup and risotto. But, as it is the warmest part of our summer, soup was out. I decided to make a simple risotto. And, wanting the flavor of the bone broth to shine, I didn't use anything else that would really overwhelm the flavors; I opted for a carrot, celery, onion, and pancetta risotto. Easy peasy!

Ingredients makes 8 servings
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 T butter
  • splash of olive oil
  • 3 C arborio rice
  • 6 C organic bone broth
  • 2 C boiling water
  • 8 oz marscarpone cream
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly ground pepper
Procedure
Bring your stock and water to a boil. Then reduce it to a simmer and keep it on a burner adjacent to your risotto pan.

Melt 2 T butter with a splash of olive oil in a large, flat-bottom pan. Add the onions carrots, celery, and pancetta. Cook until onions are translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add in the rice and stir until completely coated with oil and butter.

Add one ladle of simmering broth at a time, stirring, stirring, and stirring some more till the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until the rice is soft. If you need more liquid, just add more; if you don't use all of the stock, that's okay, too.

Let stand for 5 minutes. Season with fleur de sel and pepper to taste. Stir in marscarpone cheese. To serve, spoon out individual servings. Serve immediately.


Product Thoughts
I love their stated philosophy: "We’ve always believed that nature's work needs little refinement. That’s why we stick with just a few simple ingredients in our recipes, showcasing each ingredient’s true flavor and inherent nutrition."

They certify to the source. They are GMO-free. They are organic. And they are sourced locally whenever possible. That's how all food companies should be.

I was really impressed with how aromatic Pacific Food's organic bone broth was. Most of the time I don't buy things in packages because I can make it better. I can honestly say that this broth was outstanding; I would buy it! Or...I'll hold it as the gold standard and try to make a bone broth that tastes just as good. 

*Please note, I did receive bone broth from Pacific Foods for the purpose of reviewing the product. Opinions stated are 100% accurate and 100% mine.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Double Feature! {Food'N'Flix}

from www.totalfilm.com

Food‘nFlixIt's my turn to host Food'N'Flix...when we watch movies and head  into the kitchen and cook or bake or make something based on a recipe they actually make in it or just something we were driven to make after watching it.

As a final hoorah for summer vacation, I selected a double-feature of the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs flicks. You can watch the original or the sequel or both!


This post contains an amazon affiliate link at the bottom - for the DVDs and the original story.

Inspired by Ron and Judi Barrett's beloved children's book of the same name, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs follows Swallow Falls inventor Flint Lockwood as his Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator, or FLDSMDFR for short, begins to malfunction. Imagine a cheeseburger storm. Or, make something with sardines! The sequel Cloudy 2 picks up right where the first leaves off. The FLDSMDFR is malfunctioning again, this time producing sentient food beasts—foodimals! Foodimals? you ask. Yes. Think: Fruit Cockatiels, Shrimpanzees, Mosquitoasts, and Buttertoads.

Join the fun, then post about it on your blog with a link back to this post and to Food'N'Flix. Use of the logo is optional.

Your post must be current (during month of film). And of course we don't mind if your post is linked to other events...the more the merrier.

Have fun with it!

Email your entries to me at: constantmotioncamilla [at] gmail [dot] com and include...

  • Your name
  • Your blog's name and URL
  • The name of your dish and the permalink to the specific post you're submitting
  • Attach a photo of any size (or just give me permission to "pull" one from your post)
  • Indicate "Food 'n Flix Submission" in the subject line

Deadline for submission is: August 29th.*

*watch for the roundup to be posted by August 31st!

   

And the movies were based on this book. Loved this as a kid!

Ass Kisser Ale's Strawberry Wit {Beer Tasting}

Another beer I selected for our 10-day camping trip - Ass Kisser Ale's Strawberry Wit - I picked because the label is pink! I'll admit it. Well, that's what drew my eye to it initially. Then I read the label descriptions and I was sold.


About the Brewery
Ass Kisser Ales is a family-owned craft beer brand that has partnered with Mendocino Brewing Company in Ukiah. Ass Kisser make small batch hand-crafted ales in traditional styles with trendsetting tastes.

In the Bottle
This beer was the perfect pour on a hot summer's day. It's got a white, foamy head and the cloudy beer looks like sun-dried hay. Its light yeasty aroma complements the zest of coriander and the sweetness of summer strawberries.


On Our Plates
I actually didn't pair this with any food. We took it with us, down the banks of the Van Duizen River. We sipped and the boys splashed before dinner time.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company's Bourbon Barrel Stout {Beer Tasting}

When I was prepping for our 10-day camping trip, I picked up a couple of brews from breweries that were along our route. While I would have loved to pick up the beers en route, that's not always possible with two wild boys in tow. We'll do a brewery tour one of these days!

One of the beers I selected: Anderson Valley Brewing Company's Bourbon Barrel Stout. All three of those words make me smile. Bourbon. Barrel. Stout.


About the Brewery
Founded in 1987, the Anderson Valley Brewing Company has grown from a 10-barrel brewhouse to a 30-barrel facility whose large photo-voltaic array (AKA solar panels) provides nearly half of the brewery's electrical needs. They are a five time Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) winner - from 2005, 2004, 2003, 2001, and 2000. WRAP recognizes California businesses for their outstanding waste reduction efforts. The brewery recycles all of its plastic wrap, paper, metal, glass, cardboard and plastic bottles. Additionally, their organic waste is also recycled; their spent grain is used by local farmers for cattle feed and their spent hops are applied to fields to fertilize naturally. The bottle glass,  from Owens-Brockway, is 50% post-consumer and 65% overall recycled content. Love it...I can drink beer and embrace my tree-hugging tendencies at the same time!

In the Bottle
This brew is aged for three months in Wild Turkey® Bourbon barrels. It's a silky smooth stout with a luscious head and inky hue. The barrel-aging imparted subtly sweet but woodsy notes to the beer. It reminded us of dark, sweet espresso with a kick. It was heavenly!

On Our Plates
I served it with some fire-grilled sausages and a barley-bean pilaf scented with ground porcini mushroom.

#peterbsbrewsandbitescontest: A Winning Recipe!


When I saw #peterbsbrewsandbitescontest - a cooking contest to create an appetizer using one of their brews - announced on Peter B's Facebook page, I was instantly inspired. I created a dish showcasing my favorite Peter B's brew: Legend of Laguna IPA. Then I submitted my IPA-Braised Carnitas Over Polenta Cakes to the contest...and waited.


The three finalists were announced...

  • Beer Fondue by Rachel N.
  • IPA-Braised Carnitas over Polenta Cakes by Camilla M.
  • Vegan Beer Caramelized Leek & Onion Dip served with Beer Pretzel Bites by Briana S. 

...followed by more waiting. Yesterday, the chef at Peter B's recreated our three dishes and we were judged by the Beer Geeks, the Grub Hunter, and KRML's Program Director AKA Chris, Merideth, Mike, and Jeff. I was oddly nervous that a professional chef was making one of my recipes. Here's the crew, judging the dishes during Pub Talk last night.

photo by Portola Hotel & Spa

As is always the case on a Wednesday evening, Jake and I were shuffling the kiddos. R had mandolin lessons, so Jake took him and I grabbed D to go watch and listen to the show.

"Mom, I'm not allowed to go to a bar."

It's fine. We're going to sit outside and listen to the radio. 

"You do know that you can't see anything on the radio, right?"

No, the show is on the radio, but we can see the people broadcasting from the pub. 

"Really?!?"

Yes. Please walk faster.

We were already late and I only found a 30 minute parking spot at the wharf. When we got there, they were already tasting my dish. KRML posted these...


As always I learned something. I didn't want to be too stalker-ish, so I didn't go over to see who was saying what. One of the comments was "well, it's not really carnitas...because carnitas is cooked in lard." I had no idea! So, I looked it up when I got home and he was right. But, really, who cooks with lard these days?!?

Another comment was that my recipe was not easy to make, or something to that effect. I thought: okay, I am not going to win. They think it's inauthentic and complicated.

D and I had lemonades and cheese curds, then dashed off before the winner was announced. I had been keeping a close eye on the time and just barely beat the meter-man to my car. He was two cars away when we arrived; and we had sprinted from Peter B's. Phew. No parking ticket!

So, we missed the final verdict. A little while later one of the Beer Geeks tweeted me: "you won by the way." Here's the blogpost from Portola, announcing the winner: here.

Woohoo. I shouted and started dancing around the living room. D gave me a high-five and a huge hug before running upstairs to tell Daddy and R.

I liked the challenge they posed. I really liked the culinary adventure of creating a new dish. And, I'll be honest, I loved winning the contest!

Look for the post of our Beer Garden adventure at the end of September. That's what I won - two tickets to the beer garden event, a night at the hotel, and a growlette.

Sipping Bone Broth

For once in my life, I followed the instructions... on my Organic Bone Broth from Pacific Foods*. "Heat, sip, and savor," the carton urged. Okay. Of the four versions they sent me, Jake and I decided that the chicken-ginger combination seemed the most sip-worthy. So, I heated it on the stove and poured small portions into sake cups.


The aroma was fantastic. But just sipping it - like tea - was an odd sensation. I'm not sure why. Jake agreed. The flavor was great. However, I think I'll cook with these instead of drinking them.

Have you ever sipped bone broth? What do you think?

*Please note, I did receive bone broth from Pacific Foods for the purpose of reviewing the product. Opinions stated are 100% accurate and 100% mine.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Organic Bone Broth

While we were gone on our 10-day camping trip, I put a hold on our mail. When it resumed this week, I got a glut of envelopes...and this: a box with four samples of organic bone broth from Pacific Foods. Happy, happy mail day.


Can you read the note? "We're so excited to have you be one of the first to try our new bone broth!" Me, too.


What is it?
As always before I write anything, I tried to get a grip on my subject. Bone broth. And I have to say that I'm a little confused about the difference between stock, broth, and bone broth. I posed the question on social media and received a flurry of responses. And, like my own reading, none were definitive...and all, somehow, made logical sense. Argh!

"Stock is made with bones only and broth is made with the meat and the bones."
Okay. But, then, where would bone broth fit into that?!? And, so after Thanksgiving when I toss the turkey bones and leftover meat in a pot with onions, celery, and herbs, I'm making broth? I've always called that stock.

"My thought would be bone broth is just boiling down the bones, and stock is when you add veggies and goodness."
This makes sense, too.

"I don't think there is a difference."
I'm definitely seeing this as a possibility.

Finally I got an answer that made sense to me - thanks, David! I may still be wrong, but this is what I'm going with: the process is largely the same, the ingredients are largely the same, the cooking time is key.

Broth = carcass* simmered in water for a short amount of time, maybe 1-2 hours
Stock = carcass simmered in water with veggies and herbs for between 3-4 hours
Bone Broth = carcass simmered in water with veggies and herbs for over 24 hours

*I'm using the word 'carcass' because you can take that to be bones, meat, or a combination of bones and meat.

In the first case, you get a light meat flavor. In the second, you've simmered it long enough to release some of the minerals from the bones; roasting the bones beforehand adds to the flavor. And in the case of bone broth, you've leeched almost all of the minerals and nutrients out of the bones into the liquid; the bones may even crumble at this point.

How's that? It makes sense to me.

What do I do with it?
Now this part, I can handle! An insert in the box suggested warming it and drinking it straight. I'd rather cook with it. So, stay tuned for some recipes using my bone broth from Pacific Foods.

Frozen Art Gourmet Ice Cream

As we headed inland from the coast, I cringed as the temperature gauge in the car for outside temp climbed into the triple digits. Ugh. I'm a rather wimpy central coastal Californian who begins to wilt when it's 70 degrees outside. Thank goodness for air conditioning and a planned ice cream stop.

When I parked the car outside Frozen Art Gourmet Ice Cream in Santa Rosa, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. We knew that we still had to get to the campsite...and set up our tents in the heat. But we were going to enjoy the cool, sweet treats from Frozen Art first!


Michoacana ice creameries are the equivalent of Starbucks in Mexico; they're ubiquitous. Purists, however, claim that operating a true Michoacana ice cream shop require ties to Tocumbo. It's estimated that almost ninety percent of the Tocumban population is currently employed in the ice cream business from making ice cream itself to making equipment.

But the real art of Tocumban ice creams: imaginative ingredients. Jorge Alcazar of Frozen Art revels in creating an unending list of flavors. We tasted everything from corn to tequila and chocolate merlot to strawberry butter. My only wish was that the guy serving would have been more descriptive with the flavors. I asked about a few with Spanish names and all he would say was, "it's a tropical fruit," Yeah, I got that. I'd just like to know which fruit. Oh, well.

The rose petal is made with real frozen rose petals, so it doesn't have the heady perfume of a rosewater ice cream. D ordered it and only shared one taste.


 R opted for a rich, dark chocolate.


And I selected a small scoop of avocado ice cream. I had tried to make an avocado ice cream earlier this summer and wasn't happy with the texture. This version was both creamy, rich, and smooth. I'll have to try again.


Throughout the weekend we were in the area, I encountered Frozen Art a few more times, taking part in a food-wine pairing at a winery on the way to our campsite and a friend of a friend gushed about trying them the night before. Sweet!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mushroom Ice Cream at Cowlick's

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you'll know that we plan stops during our road trips to check out new-to-us ice cream shoppes. During this year's 10-day summer camping trip, we hit a handful of spots. At one of the stops, Jake asked me, "How do you find these places?" Mad skillz, Babe.


This one we've driven by for years as we venture south along the coast; but, we've never stopped. It just never worked out, schedule-wise, but when I noticed that they had mushroom ice cream, I was sold and planned to swing in there this time around.

Besides, last year, they were heralded as one of the Top 10 Ice Cream Shops in America. “Located along the Pacific Coast, this family owned shop serves up 'absurdly good' ice cream and sources its dairy from local Petaluma cows...and those daring enough can devour the local favorite: 'Candy Cap Mushroom.'" Yes, I'm daring enough.


I've always wanted to try candy cap mushroom ice cream. Penny Ice Creamery has a version, but I always seem to miss that season. I'm pretty sure I squealed aloud when I saw that Cowlick's had it. The mom in line behind us, with her two kids, was reading off the flavors and said, "Mushroom?!? Yuck." Whereas I purposefully drove there because I saw mushroom on the menu. Different strokes, I suppose.


I didn't even look at the other flavors! The flavor wasn't overtly mushroom or even very savory. It reminded me of a strong, woodsy honey. Now, if I could get my hands on some candy caps, I'd try to make my own.

Fair Fare: Lobster Corn Dogs & Fried Gator


I avoid the fair like the plague. I can't remember the last time that I've been to a county or state fair; I definitely haven't been in at least a decade.

I don't care for rides. Or crowds. Or what they consider food. Funnel cake? Corn dogs?! Blech. I know, I'm awfully curmudgeon-y, aren't I?

But when Jake's cousin suggested a trip to the fair while we were passing through his town, he added, "they have really good - and interesting food."

He knows how to push my buttons. My curiosity was piqued. Even Jake, who probably despises fairs more than I, agreed. We slathered on the sunblock and off we went to the Sonoma County Fair.

And I will admit: I ate a corn dog...and I liked it. It was a lobster corn dog. I also ate fried gator, crawfish étouffée (in honor of our failed crawdad hunt the week before), and some truly succulent ceviche.

I am still not a fair-person per se, but Obe was right: the food was really good - and interesting. It was an adventure.





Do you go to your county or state fair? What do you like to eat there?

Blackberry S'mores for Breakfast


"S'mores for breakfast, boysies!" I hollered from the picnic table about our last campsite of the trek. Silence descended and sticks stopped flying across the site. What did you say, Mommy?!? both boys gaped. Actually, I think all three of my boys just stared at me.

But after 10 days of cooking in the wild, and on the verge of heading home, I was done. Done, done, done, done, done. Done cooking on one burner. Done smelling like a campfire. Just plain done. And since we had skipped s'mores the night before, everything was ready to go.

Jake did suggest that we hike up to pick fresh blackberries and stick them in there. That was slightly redeeming, nutritionally speaking. So, I strapped on running shoes and off we went.


He whispered as we went, maybe even more excited than the boys about our breakfast prospect. "You got marshmallows, right?"
Yes.
"You have chocolate?"
Yes. 
"Dark?"
Of course.
"Annnnd you didn't get those whole wheat graham crackers again, did you?"
No. 
"You're really going to let them eat s'mores for breakfast?!"
Yes.
"Awesome."


As they munched away, happily, on their breakfast s'mores, they toyed with the name for this creation.


I think I heard something about Berry Black S'mores and something about Darth Vader S'mores. But I don't believe it was every truly christened. What do you think it should be called?


graham crackers + 78% dark chocolate with sea salt + roasted marshmallows + fresh blackberries

Proof!  

My mom-points were soaring that day. But, savory gal that I am, I just couldn't eat it myself. I tried a bite and let the sugar pigs duke it out for my share. I ate the blackberries by themselves...with a handful of baked chips and washed it all down with an espresso.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pass the Cookbook: Shwarma! Assemble!


This month the Pass the Cookbook crew - under the leadership of Kita, the culinary force behind Pass the Sushi - is cooking from Julie of White Lights on Wednesday's pick: Emeril Lagasse's Kicked Up Sandwiches. 

This post contains an amazon affiliate link at the bottom - for the book.

Our three choices this month were for Almond-Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Lemon Neufchâtel, Turkey Waldorf Sandwich, or Beef Shwarma with Tzatziki Sauce. And, yes, I did pick the latter because of Julie's note: "Who doesn’t want to know what Shwarma is after seeing The Avengers?

I actually didn't remember the Shwarma reference...from the one time I saw the movie. But my boys - all three of them - were happy to oblige and watch it with me; it was the first time our little one has been allowed to see a PG-13 movie. Gasp! He was so excited...he's ten-and-a-half.

I found this still of the Avengers eating shwarma...from the extras of the DVD; we had watched it on netflix, so I didn't get to see the extras. It's too good not to share, right?

from reelz.com

The scene, in case you missed the shwarma reference, too: Iron Man has just saved the world from alien attack.

Tony Stark: [regaining consciousness] What just happened? Please tell me nobody kissed me.
Steve Rogers: We won.
Tony Stark: Alright. Hey. Alright. Good job, guys. Let's just not come in tomorrow. Let's just take a day. Have you ever tried shwarma? There's a shwarma joint about two blocks from here. I don't know what it is, but I wanna try it.

And we all wanted to try it, too. Perfect...I did skip the tzatziki sauce, subbing in homemade Tarator Sauce and using my Homemade Rose Harissa. 



Ingredients makes 4 to 6 sandwiches
Shwarma
  • ½ C plain Greek-style yogurt
  • ¼ C vinegar (I had a thyme-infused Pinot Grigio vinegar)
  • ¼ C plus 2 T olive oil
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t ground allspice
  • ½ t ground cloves
  • ½ t ground cardamom 
  • ½ t ground ginger
  • 2 lbs beef (I marinated and grilled mine whole - a NY strip - not sliced)

To Serve
  • 4 to 6 lavash breads
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • grilled green onions
  • 8 to 12 lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • 2 T fresh parsley. chopped
  • Homemade Rose Harissa (or use whatever harissa you have or can find at the store. Our local Whole Foods has at least three versions)
  • Tarator Sauce

  

Procedure
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the shwarma ingredients - except the meat -  and mix well. Add the beef and rub so that it's completely covered with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to overnight.

Grill till desired doneness. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Carve slices of the meat while you warm the lavash bread in the oven.


To serve, arrange the warmed lavash on a cutting board. Smear the bread with harissa, if using. Lay the grilled onions, tomatoes, lettuce, parsley, and beef on the bread. Drizzle with the Tarator Sauce. Roll up the lavash to form a wrap. Serve with extra sauces, if desired.

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